SYDNEY (AP) — It wasn’t quite a fairytale finish for David Warner, but it was very close.
Warner scored 57 runs to help lead Australia to an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan on Saturday in his final test match, ending a 112-test career as a winner on his home ground.
With Australia needing only 11 runs to claim their third consecutive victory in the three-test series, and with a chance to score the winning runs, Warner was out lbw off the bowling of Sajid Khan. He walked off the Sydney Cricket Ground to a standing ovation as he waved to the crowd.
As he headed to the lockerroom, he was embraced by his former test captain Steve Smith. Warner handed his Australia batting helmet and gloves to a young fan at the players’ gate and walked off into test retirement.
“It’s pretty much a dream come true,” Warner said in a post-game TV interview, after walking back onto the field, with a pink stump in his hand and a tattered original baggy green cap on his head, along a line of teammates and Pakistan players shaking hands and hugging. “Win 3-0 and cap off what’s been a great 18 months for the Australian cricket team: World Test Championship win, Ashes series, the World Cup and then we come here and win 3-0. I’m just proud to be here with a bunch of great cricketers.”
Pakistan’s captain Shan Masood presents Australia’s David Warner a shirt signed by the Pakistan players.
Pakistan captain Shan Masood presented Warner with one of Babar Azam’s shirts signed by the touring team as a gesture of congratulations.
Australia captain Pat Cummins, voted player of the series after taking 19 wickets — including three consecutive five-wicket hauls — said it’s going to be hard to replace Warner.
“He’s basically played every game for the last dozen years. He’s a huge personality. He really sets the game up with the game he plays,” Cummins said. “We’ll enjoy the next couple of days while we’ve still got him around.”
Warner had nominated the SCG test as his last before retirement as soon as Australia’s summer schedule was finalised, before he was guaranteed a spot in the starting XI.
It generated plenty of conjecture about his form ahead of the series but selectors stuck with the veteran and he delivered against Pakistan, opening the series with a big century — the only hundred of the series — and tallying 299 runs at an average of 50.
Warner played his first test in 2011, against New Zealand, shrugging off speculation he was only suited to the limited-overs versions of the game. He also overcame the infamous “sandpapergate” scandal in South Africa in 2018 that resulted in him being barred from representing Australia for a year, returning to the national team in August, 2019.
Warner maintained his attacking style throughout his career in all formats of the game, and finished with 8,796 test runs at an average of 44.59.
The only other wicket to fall in Australia’s second innings Saturday was when opener Usman Khawaja was also adjudged lbw off Khan’s bowling for a six-ball duck.
Pakistan scored 313 and 115 and Australia responded with 299 and 130-2. Marnus Labuschagne scored 62 and was at the crease with Smith (4) when the match ended.
Warner’s half-century came off 75 balls and included seven boundaries, setting the tone from the third ball he faced by walking down the wicket at the bowler. He twice reverse-swept to the boundary.
Warner had reprieves on 16 — when he almost chopped on to his stumps — and 25, when Aamir Jamal dropped a difficult chance at mid off. He also survived a very close lbw appeal on 53.
Everything went to plan for Australia on Saturday. The bowlers quickly took Pakistan’s three remaining wickets to start Day 4 and set a 130-run victory target.
After Josh Hazlewood (4-16) ran through Pakistan on Day 3, the visitors offered little further resistance. Mohammad Rizwan (28) and Jamal (18) put on 42 for the eighth wicket, but Pakistan folded quickly once Nathan Lyon had Rizwan caught at leg slip.
Lyon also bowled Hasan Ali to end the innings, finishing with figures of 3-36.
Australia won the first test in Perth by 360 runs and the second by 79 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Jamal was voted player of the match for his six-wicket haul and defiant 82 in the first innings, a performance nominated as one Pakistan’s highlights of the series by skipper Masood.
“We’re learning things the hard way but we have to look at the positives,” he said, adding that his group had gained plenty of experience for the next test series. “Putting a good score on the board but again missing a few chances. It’s a bit of déjà vu since Melbourne.”